Now it is required that those who have been given a trust must prove faithful.1 Corinthians 4:2
For the record, I am an American citizen and have been since 1985. According to the UK, however, I am still a subject of Her Majesty, The Queen. Or I was until she died September 8th. This column is a response to the many questions I have already fielded and – more importantly – what is going on in my heart.
My own emotional response has taken me a little by surprise. I hadn’t realized quite how deeply Queen Elizabeth ran, and how much space she occupied in that part of my identity that is still resident in England. I really am moved by her passing.
In principle, I am not a royalist. In practice, however, and in terms of how I understand both history and the unique DNA of the world’s most celebrated Constitutional Monarchy, I support the British status quo 100%, and I support the coming reign of King Charles as well.
I have a lot to say about this, but for today I can only promise a loosely organized, meandering commentary.
Such a quality human being:
First, Queen Elizabeth II herself. I can say without hesitation that she was as good in her role as it was possible for anyone to be. Her integrity, her leadership, her devotion to her people, her poise, her pitch-perfect sense of duty, her carefully balanced tightrope walk between the accessibility people say they want and the majesty and mystery they still need.
Also, and not understood completely enough, I want to mention Elizabeth R’s personal faith as a practicing Christian. I say this with care, because in the distinction between those who simply adhere to a state religion and those who genuinely follow the teachings of Jesus, The Queen consistently and authentically followed her Savior.
Most of all, it has been obvious to me that Queen Elizabeth served not from mere law, or duty, or obligation, or mandate, but from love. She represented and embodied so much of what is decent, and good, and honest about England, and she projected such care and such a sense of responsibility for the wide commonwealth of nations she led, that her example will be hard for any future monarch to live up to.
Charles and royal succession:
As for the future of the Royal Family, and in response to people who wonder, “Should Charles be king?”, I have the following insight: If the title “sovereign” was a prize awarded in response to a popularity contest then there would be no monarchy. Being Queen, or King, is a position with a lot more substance and history than that!
The legacy Queen Elizabeth has passed on to King Charles III is an inheritance a thousand years in the making. The United Kingdom has something in its genetic code that runs deep and – thanks to her – true. King Charles – and then his heir, William – are now the caretakers, the stewards. How they care, and the quality of their stewardship, moving forward, is going to be telling.
In a sense, and I hope they have all learned this from the amazing example of Elizabeth R, how well they do is going to be dependent on how much, how genuinely, and how convincingly they love the people, and how well they communicate that love.
I’m sure I will write more about this, but that’s enough for today.
Rest in peace, Queen Elizabeth, I am proud to have been your subject – DEREK